Nawal and Michelle dive into the elements of the planning strand of the PEBC Teaching Framework and discuss how we must think outside of the box so that students can build their criticality muscles across contexts. Choice and flexibility are hallmarks of culturally responsive learning environments that foster agency and independence. Choice can manifest itself in not only what students read, but also in how they respond to text. And for writers, choice can go beyond topic choice and include choices about process and product. It is also important to expand our definition of text and provide opportunities for students to apply thinking strategies. Criticality is providing opportunities for students to engage in inquiry and develop critical thinking skills not just fill-n-the-box skills. One concrete strategy for supporting multicultural and multilingual students who are translingual and shaping their identities as readers and writers is to encourage students to record their ideas as a prewriting strategy before committing to the page. Getting to know and honoring families and exalting cultural capital should also be top of mind when designing culturally sustaining curriculum. Nawal shares her list of Culturally Nourishing Resources that elevate the importance of traditions and food across cultures.
Nawal and Michelle wrap up their conversation by diving into the ways in which we can diversify our classroom and school collections. First, Nawal encourages us to expand our familiarity with diverse texts and authors. She has recently teamed up with Cornelius Minor to exalt the voices of diverse authors with We Need Diverse Books. Check out the latest interview with Shape of Thunder and Other Words for Home author Jessica Warga! When it comes to selecting new texts for our collections, Nawal encourages teachers, schools and systems to avoid promoting stereotypes by featuring a single diverse text about a particular culture, ensure that diverse texts were actually written by authors living those experiences, provide a wide array of choice texts for students, and reconsider some of our touchstone texts so that our instructional materials can truly serve as windows, doors, and mirrors (c. Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop) To learn more about how to diversify your texts, check out https://disrupttexts.org; We Need Books that Center Black Joy by Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul; and Lee + Low Book Publishers.
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